Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Hypoglycemia Symptoms
Why a Short List Is Not Enough

by Celia Kirkman, RN, CDE

Preventing hypoglycemia
When you were first informed about hypoglycemia by your doctor or diabetes educator, you may not have paid a lot of attention or felt too concerned about it. It is often not until the first mild or moderate hypoglycemia episode that you or your family members learn the value of avoiding low blood glucose.

You can reduce your chances of developing hypoglycemia by learning to make adjustments in your diabetes control regimen to accommodate different activities and circumstances. For example, if you find you tend to develop hypoglycemia after a certain type of exercise, you can learn (with the help of your doctor or diabetes educator) how to adjust your food or medicine on the days you perform that exercise. Keeping a blood glucose monitoring log and regularly reviewing it with your health-care provider can help to determine where problems may be occurring and how to fix them.

Your goal is to find a healthy balance to keep your blood glucose level in target range most of the time. You should not have low blood glucose frequently, but you also should not maintain high blood glucose to avoid hypoglycemia, because having chronically high blood glucose has consequences, too. By learning about the many symptoms of hypoglycemia and paying attention to the symptoms you experience, you have empowered yourself to seek treatment faster. You should not have to give up the things that are important to you such as exercise, playing with your children, or driving just because you could develop hypoglycemia. And with adequate education, planning, and attention, you won’t have to.

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